'''Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward''' (1844–1911) was an early feminist
American author and intellectual who challenged traditional Christian beliefs of the afterlife
, challenged women's traditional roles in marriage and family, and advocated History of brassieres#The Clothing Reform Movement|clothing reform for women
In 1868, three years after the Civil War ended, she published ''The Gates Ajar'', which depicted the afterlife as a place replete with the comforts of domestic life and where families would be reunited—along with family pets—through eternity.
In her 40s, Phelps broke convention again when she married a man 17 years her junior. Later in life she urged women to burn their corsets. Her later writing focused on feminine ideals and women's financial dependence on men in marriage. She was the first woman to present a lecture series at Boston University
. During her lifetime she was the author of 57 volumes of fiction, poetry and essays. In...